Gone are the days when it was considered a faux pas to wear white after Labor Day. There’s never a wrong time of year to wear a classic little white tee or even an all-white outfit. The challenge in all of this can be keeping your pristine wardrobe staples looking good as new. After all, clothes aren’t just made to be seen—they’re made to be lived in. While that little white dress might not be the ideal choice for, say, a wedding, your favorite white garment should enjoy equal use as any other piece in your closet without you having to worry about upkeep. Knowing how to wash white clothes can open up a whole new section of your wardrobe.
To get started, read on to learn how to wash white clothes in just four easy steps.
1. Sort Your Laundry
While it can be tempting to throw everything in together, washing your whites separately can make a huge difference in how clean and bright they look over time. This crucial step in washing white clothes properly also applies to white garments that are heavily stained, which, again, you don’t want to be mixing with more pristine pieces.
2. Use Hot Water
Not all fabrics are equal, but several (most notably, 100% cotton) play well with hot water. One of the advantages of washing white clothes is that there’s no risk of bleeding dyes or damaging the color of your garments. As a general rule, the hotter the water, the better it will be at removing stains. Of course, always be sure to check the care label instructions, since hot water can damage certain types of delicate fabric.
3. Use a Brightening Detergent
To really make your white clothing pop, it may be worth trying a brightening detergent. While such detergents often contain more chemicals than strictly eco-friendly alternatives, they can be extremely successful in removing stains and making fabrics glow. According to fabric care expert Mary Marlowe Leverette, “The brighteners bend UV light waves to showcase blue light and minimize the amount of yellow light your eye sees, making fabrics appear whiter.” If you’d prefer to keep things green, you can add a cup of baking soda to your regular wash cycle.
4. Dry Naturally
One of the most important aspects of washing white clothes is knowing how to dry them. The ideal method is to air-dry them in the sun, which allows UV rays to naturally brighten the fabric. This method is also the gentlest on more delicate fabrics. If you opt to use the dryer, choose a low heat setting. While high heat may be your best friend when it comes to washing, exposing clothing to high heat in the dryer can cause the fabric to look dull over time.
Now that you know how to wash white clothes, keep reading for your official guide to wearing white year-round.